Everton eager to retain midfield maestro McCarthy as Spurs ready bid


Roberto Martinez is desperate to keep Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy at Goodison Park this summer, as Tottenham prepare to launch a reported £20m bid for the Everton star’s services.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has been busy trimming his squad during this summer transfer market, having recently offloaded Etienne Capoue to Watford and Paulinho to Chinese outfit Guangzhou Evergrande, making plenty of room for a new midfield arrival.

Ireland anchorman McCarthy looks like the most suitable signing at White Hart Lane this year, with his abilities in the central areas perfect for Pochettino’s squad ahead of next season (6/1 with Coral for top four finish 2015/16).

It’s believed the London club are ready to test the Toffees with a £20m swoop in the coming weeks, with Aaron Lennon also set to be involved as part of the deal, but Everton will want to retain their pivotal midfielder at all costs.

Becoming central to both Everton and Ireland’s plans, McCarthy has risen to prominence in his two seasons on the blue half of Merseyside, having excelled under Roberto Martinez at Goodison Park.

Although, recent reports have indicated that the Scottish-born midfielder has become unsettled in his current surroundings after a stall on new contract talks, despite being tied down until 2019. Toffees fans will hope there is little substance to such speculation, with the 24-year-old now a key aspect of their side.

The former Wigan Athletic star joined for £12m in 2013, following his club mentor Martinez, and has since enjoyed a successful spell in blue, dominating in midfield during two sublime Premier League campaigns (11/4 for top six finish 2015/16).

After establishing himself as such a driving force in the Everton midfield, persistently performing steadily and always being an effective outlet going forward, many expected him to convert that supreme form on to the international stage.

However, McCarthy has somewhat struggled to live up to his superb club showings when donning the green jersey, but is still an integral part of Martin O’Neill’s Irish squad for Euro 2016 qualifying (13/5 to qualify for France).

Such underwhelming outings have raised questions over his commitment to his chosen country of representation, with many pundits and fans also claiming his national boss’ tactics are having a negative effect on his displays.

The internationally faltering midfielder has the astute attacking talents to play in the number 10 role, but has been pegged much further back by O’Neill, rather than given the freedom to roam at club level. Such permission to drive forward under Martinez saw McCarthy net twice at the end of last term in wins over Newcastle United and Manchester United, with the latter being a well-taken solo strike, while also becoming a dangerous playmaker.

However, McCarthy has still been part of O’Neill’s team which has fallen off the pace in their attempts to reach France next summer, a stage on which they could finally gain redemption after their undeserved World Cup play-off exit at the hands of next year’s hosts in 2009.

Whether the sought-after midfielder would genuinely wish to depart an Everton squad which holds a strong Irish and Scottish contingency remains unclear, with the likes of Seamus Coleman, Aiden McGeady and Steven Naismith in the Toffees ranks for the immediate future.

Though, in order for Everton to kick on next term and push further up the top flight table, they will need an in-form and motivated McCarthy at their disposal, but will have to hold strong as Tottenham try to lure the Irish midfielder to London this summer.

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